It’s no secret that Microsoft’s Xbox One has been lagging behind their rival, Sony’s PlayStation 4, in terms of the global install base. With Sony set on releasing some major exclusives in 2018, such as the highly anticipated God of War and The Last of Us Part 2, this trend is set to continue, unless Microsoft does something drastic to improve their exclusives offering. Microsoft seems to be well aware of this as a new rumour suggests that the company might be making some key acquisitions to boost their exclusives game catalogue. While Microsoft has done this in the past by acquiring Mojang, the studio behind the popular Minecraft game, it seems they might have a bigger fish in mind this time around.
According to Polygon, Microsoft could be interested in acquiring gaming giant Electronic Arts, or even Valve, as a way to gain access to more exclusives for their console. Although this might seem unthinkable, the mere fact that these rumours are doing the round suggests that there might be some truth to this, especially since Microsoft’s Phil Spencer indicated last year that the company would need to focus more on expanding their first-party development.
In the aftermath of the rumours, EA’s stock gained more than 2%. EA’s value is estimated at around $35 billion, which is no small sum of money. However, thanks to some recent tax breaks that favour large corporations, it’s an amount that Microsoft does have access to.
If these rumours are true, it would be a move that could drastically change the gaming industry landscape with both positive and negative impacts, depending on how you look at it. For instance, having games such as the upcoming Anthem or any of the myriad of EA Sports titles (like FIFA) as Xbox One exclusives could boost the value (and attractiveness) of the console. On the other hand, this could also mean that the wide-reaching market share could shrink and decrease the publisher’s value. This will surely be bad news for both PlayStation 4 and Switch owners as many of the current EA published titles would most probably not be available on these consoles anymore.
With regards to Valve, an acquisition by Microsoft could in effect see the company returning to making games or see Microfost combine their Xbox Game Pass subscription service with their Steam service. This is probably the less likely acquisition of the two.
Whatever the future holds for the gaming industry, it’s important to note that these are just rumours and should be treated as such. Although, as the saying goes, where there’s smoke there usually is a fire.